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Petrolia Named Sea Grant Laborde Chair

Dan Petrolia, professor of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University, has been named Laborde Endowed Chair for Sea Grant Research and Technology Transfer at Louisiana Sea Grant (LSG). His appointment is from mid-January through the end of June.

During this time, Petrolia will work on a project titled Identifying Economic Opportunities and Challenges for Commercial Oyster Production in Louisiana to help develop targeted economic analysis and outreach for alternative oyster culture (AOC) operations, as well as develop baseline, comparative budgets for traditional oyster production. AOC is when oysters are grown in floating cages or in bottom-placed cages attached to pylons. This method allows the cages to be raised and lowered to protect oysters from predators, fouling and the burial effects of disasters like hurricanes.

A native of Louisiana, Petrolia has emerged as one of the nation’s most prolific natural resource economists. His work has covered a broad spectrum of innovative applications related to the economics of agricultural and environmental markets, non-market valuation, policy, risk and cost-benefit analysis. A review of his research portfolio shows nearly 40 scholarly publications associated with the economics of oysters (Crassostrea virginica) in the northern Gulf of Mexico. His initial research on this topic examined the potential of niche marketing strategies for enhancing the profile and profitability of locally branded oysters from specific coastal regions.

The John P. Laborde Endowed Chair for Sea Grant Research and Technology Transfer enables Louisiana Sea Grant to bring highly qualified scientists to LSU to focus on marine and coastal issues critical to the state while providing those researchers with supplemental funding. To date, ten internationally recognized researchers have been appointed to the endowed chair. The chair was established in 1994 with a gift of $600,000 from Tidewater Inc. – where John P. Laborde served as CEO for nearly 40 years – and a match of $400,000 from the Louisiana Board of Regents.